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Deda has taken one of its top end alloy road bars and given it a bit of a tweak to suit the challenges of gravel riding and racing. The Gravel100 RHM offers an excellent firm yet comfortable ride, with a nice flare from top to bottom giving extra control and the large centre section providing plenty of room to attach your gadgets.
The Zero 100 road handlebar by Deda is highly respected and we see it on a fair view mid to high-end bikes, so it was a good place to start for a top-end gravel bar.
The Gravel100 has a 31.7mm clamping area, and it's good to see that that diameter extends a good distance either side of where the stem will sit. If you need to attach your GPS, lights and other accessories for a long jaunt or adventure, like aero extensions, you'll have plenty of room to mount them all. It also means you can run your bar tape right up to it for a smooth transition, and the deep channels under the bar mean your cables continue those clean lines.
The upper part of the bar has a slightly flattened aero shape, which works really well on the gravel where you can often find yourself tapping out the miles sat on the tops. The slightly wider shape than a standard round bar gives you a bit more surface area, allowing a more relaxed grip from my experience, so you can let the bike float about a little more beneath you when on the rough stuff.
A lot of gravel bars have flared drops to aid control when in a crouched position. Narrower handlebars speed up the steering and when riding fast on a loose surface you don't want any twitchiness, so when you are hunkered down in the drops the bar is wider, taming the handling a little.
Up at the hoods the widths are your standard road size options, 40cm to 46cm outside to outside, but the 12-degree flare each side kicks the bottom width by an extra 60mm for each size.
From a performance handlebar you want stiffness, but you don't want it to be too firm and uncomfortable, especially off-road. Deda has got a pretty good balance here by using triple-butted 7075 aluminium alloy. Butting, if you don't know, is when a tube has varying wall thicknesses along its length, three in this case. More material in the centre section, plus the larger diameter, means plenty of stiffness for sprinting or pulling on the bar when climbing, but the thinner sections as it moves away from the stem promote just a small amount of flex, taking the really fine road buzz out. It is very minimal but it is there.
Using Deda's RHM (Rapid Hand Movement) design, the Gravel100 bar has quite a shallow drop of just 130mm, which makes getting your hands from the tops to the drops and back again very quick and easy.
Overall, it is a very good quality handlebar with some very good design ideas, but you are expected to pay for it. Priced at £94.99, it is more than double the price of the very good PRO Discover Medium bar, which costs just £44.99. It has the same 12-degree flare and weighs just 8g more, though I have to say it doesn't quite have the same level of finish as the Deda.
A bar that does have that quality is the Easton EA70 AX. It has a slightly wider flare and offers a very similar ride quality, and has an RRP of £79.99.
Both the Deda and Easton are a lot cheaper than something like the Enve G Series Gravel bar, though, at £340, a carbon bar that weighs just 11g less.
Overall, there are cheaper options out there but the Deda Gravel100 delivers a very good ride quality, a great shape and good looks.
Buzz-taming alloy bar that delivers with a great shape, good looks and well-thought-out design details
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Deda Gravel100 RHM Bar
Size tested: 42cm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Deda says, "With the Gravel100 RHM Handlebars, Deda have used their experience and expertise learnt from the Zero100 RHM handlebars which are just about the most reliable and classic handlebars out on the market today. Made to the same tried and tested RHM shape as their top end Alanera bar, it ensures comfort, and speed of movement, whether you're on the drops or on the flats.
"To make the handlebars more suitable for gravel and cyclocross racing, the Gravel100 handlebars feature a 12 degree flare at the drops to provide more stability while still preserving the typical drop bar feel.
"These bars feature a drilled entry hole for installation of Di2 bar-end junction box."
I think it is one of the better gravel bars out there.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
RHM – Rapid Hand Movement
Triple butted alloy 7075
handlebar sizes (outside to outside) cm
40 cm, 42 cm, 44 cm, 46 cm
black on black (BOB)
It's at the pricier end of the market for an alloy gravel bar, though it isn't massively more expensive than the very good Easton EA70 AX.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The way the material deals with the vibration from rough surfaces is very impressive.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Slightly pricier than some very good opposition.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A very good handlebar, offering an excellent ride quality and loads of space for fitting accessories. There are some cheaper alternatives, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!